Archivi del mese: maggio 2018

Newcastle University Researchers 3D Print Human Corneas

Newcastle University Researchers 3D Print Human Corneas
By Hanna Watkin

Newcastle University

Researchers from Newcastle University, UK, 3D printed human corneas for the first time. To do this, they mixed stem cells from a healthy donor cornea with a gel and collagen to create a printable bio-ink. 

The cornea, or the outer-layer of the human eye, plays an important role in focusing vision. Every year, around 10 million people worldwide require eye-surgery to prevent corneal blindness.

Worse yet, around 5 million people lose their sight in both eyes yearly due to corneal dysfunction. But, there is currently a shortage in transplantable corneas worldwide. However, 3D printing could change this.

Working on a solution are researchers from Newcastle University in the UK. The researchers have now 3D printed human corneas for the first time.

What we have shown is that it is feasible to print corneas using co-ordinates taken from a patient’s eye,” said Che Connon, Professor of Tissue Engineering at Newcastle University, who led the work.

Newcastle university

3D Printed Corneas Ready to Transplant in 5 Years?

The corneas are possible using a special bio-ink, that the researchers create by mixing healthy donor cornea stem cells with a gel called alginate, which is taken from seaweed, and collagen.

Our unique bio-gel — a combination of alginate and collagen — keeps the stem cells alive while producing a material which is stiff enough to hold its shape but soft enough to be squeezed out the nozzle of a 3D printer,” Connon said.

This bio-ink was then printed in concentric circles using a low-cost bioprinter. Connon adds that they are not alone in their research, with many teams currently engaged in creating bio-inks for creating 3D printed corneas.

However, this is the first time in which a shaped cornea was created. Previously, only flat tissue was created. The Newcastle team’s work also show that building a cornea to a patient’s specification is also possible.

Now, the 3D printed corneas are undergoing further testing. They are being produced and tested at the Newcastle University’s Institute of Genetic Medicine. The hope is that within just five years, 3D printed corneas will be available for transplants, solving the shortage problem.

The researchers have published a proof-of-concept research paper in Experimental Eye Research.

Source (paywall): Financial Times

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May 31, 2018 at 06:49PM
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Researchers Develop Polymerization Process to Recycle 3D Printing Materials

Researchers Develop Polymerization Process to Recycle 3D Printing Materials
By Hanna Watkin

Researchers from Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) have developed a two-step polymerization process to fully recycle 3D printed thermosetting photopolymers. 

Although 3D printing technology has proven to be beneficial to the environment in a number of ways — such as by saving the bees or helping us grow food in urban areas — the current market still has a huge focus on thermosetting photopolymers.

Such materials can be used to create any number of shapes when fed through a 3D printer. However, in most cases, once a 3D printed object has taken its final form, there’s no going back. While we’re some of the biggest fans of 3D printing around, the plastic waste which can be generated from creating a new object can be hard to reconcile with.

But in an effort to make the technology more sustainable, researchers from Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) are developing a system which can help recycle or remold such 3D prints. The idea is centered around a two-step polymerization strategy can help create reprocessable thermosets (aka 3DPRTs) that would allow users can reform a 3D structure, repair a broken part or even recycle any unwanted material.

Kavin Kowsari, an assistant professor at SUTD, explains the motivation behind their work, explaining that the “explosion” of 3D printing technology along with the “unprocessable” nature of its products could have “serious” implications for the environment. But, thankfully, Kowsari also believes that this two-step polymerization strategy could reduce the waste build-up of materials from the technology.

3D Printed Objects Can be Fixed or Melted to Make New Products

Working in a laboratory project, the researchers discovered that its possible to fix or melt 3D printed objects and turn them into other products using a process called thermal self-healing.

This treatment entails placing UV cured samples inside of a universal oven at 180°C for four hours. The first object they treated was a 3D printed rabbit that was missing its ears. After four hours of baking the print, it became malleable enough to restore the design and reform the bunny ears.

The researchers add that after this process, the model gained 93 percent of its material strength and 100 percent of its stiffness back, proving that the process can “robustly bond” parts and keep the mechanical properties intact.

The findings are quite significant, but this isn’t all the researchers are using their baking oven for. In fact, the team also found that for thermally treating a print for up to four hours, depending on its size, it was possible to then grind the samples into fine powders. These powders could then be pressed between foil-coated metal plates, completing the recycling process full stop.

“We can exploit this process to combine 3D printing with traditional manufacturing methods, such as molding, pressing, and thermoforming, to increase manufacturing capabilities and decrease manufacturing time,” the research teams explain.

The team’s research, entitled “Reprocessable thermosets for sustainable three-dimensional printing, was recently published in the journal Nature.

Source: Recycling International 

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May 30, 2018 at 07:05PM
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Pepsi and Protolabs 3D Print Black Panther Masks for Collector’s Edition Soda Cans

Pepsi and Protolabs 3D Print Black Panther Masks for Collector’s Edition Soda Cans
By Hanna Watkin

Black Panther

In a unique marketing campaign for the superhero movie Black Panther, Pepsi partnered up with the manufacturing service provider Protolabs to create a collectibles kit that featured five special edition soda cans fitted with 3D printed Black Panther masks. 

Right in the nick of time for the last month’s premier of the renowned superhero film Black Panther, Pepsi enlisted the help of Protolabs to 3D print a limited-edition promotional collector’s item. The kit, which features five cans that represent each of the movie’s main characters, is fitted with a special 3D printed Black Panther mask.

Aiming to develop and produce 250 complex masks as quickly as possible, Pepsi decided that creating molds would be too expensive. Therefore, they turned to the professional-grade 3D printing service provider Protolabs to create the detailed designs.

“Much of this kit was inspired by the costumes and characters from the movie. This was an exciting opportunity for us to incorporate new technologies to develop unique textures, graphics, dimensional elements, and lighting to bring the kit to life,” says Andrew Phinney, an R&D packaging engineer at PepsiCo.

Black Panther

Testing 3D Printing Processes for the Perfect Pepsi Panther Mask

The team considered using a number of 3D printing technologies, including SLS, SLA, PolyJet, CLIP technology from Carbon and Multi Jet Fusion, but finally settled on just a couple to actualize their unique concept.

At first, they utilized fused deposition modeling (FDM) machines to create the initial prototypes of the masks. They added some modifications to ensure that the design worked with the picture on the can and that it would remain secure during shipping. For the final product, Multi Jet Fusion technology was used to create the final parts.

As the flagship technology for HP’s impressive 3D printer line, Multi Jet Fusion was chosen due to its ability to provide a high quality surface finish and resolution, while also keeping production prices relatively low.

“When we received the Multi Jet Fusion part it was clear that this technology was going to meet the cosmetic requirements we outlined at the beginning of the design process,” Phinney explains.

Another reason for choosing Multi Jet Fusion was that the team wanted to create a collector’s item that they could be sure would last up to 20 years. Phinney adds that, although SLA and PolyJet offered a high resolution, it wasn’t guaranteed that these processes would hold the deep black color and last for multiple years.

With the perfect 3D printing process chosen, the team started conducting vibration, compression and drop tests to make sure the mask would stay in place. Once they were sure of this, they moved onto shipping the kits. In total, it took just six months to go from conceptualization to a final product, all thanks to Protolabs’ 3D printing technology. Both the Pepsi cans and their sleek 3D printed masks helped gain a lot of attention for the movie, which as most of us know, ended up being a smash hit in the box office.

Black Panther

Source: Machine Design

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May 29, 2018 at 07:04PM
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Looking Back on AR and VR at Tribeca Film Festival

Looking Back on AR and VR at Tribeca Film Festival
By Hanna Watkin

Tribeca Film Festival

This year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City featured over 30 VR and AR experiences. Although the technology isn’t quite mainstream enough for home enjoyment yet, the creativity on show certainly assures us of the future for the medium. 

Last month, at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, there was a huge array of virtual and augmented reality experiences. While a few of these experiences remain exclusive to the festival circuit, others will soon make it to your home headset.

Although the technology hasn’t yet completely changed how we make and view films, it has certainly progressed in the last few years. In fact, we’re slowly seeing cinema change as virtual reality movies in cinemas in South Korea become popular.

But, the place you’re most likely to be able to enjoy the cutting edge of VR and AR experiences is still at a film festival. Over 30 such experiences made it to the Tribeca film festival, gaining a lot of attention.

However, one of the current problems of creating experiences with this technology is how to feature the installations. At the festival, there were two different ways: a virtual arcade featuring the Storyscapes program for installations and a VR theater including a cinematic 360-degree screen.

At the Virtual Arcade, which was presented by AT&T, there were 21 virtual and augmented exhibits and five Storyscapes. Meanwhile there were eleven Cinema360 Features for 2018.

VR & AR Experiences at the Tribeca Film Festival

Experiences are as drastically different as the films at the festival. For example, one such experience included AR-based Terminal 3, in which the viewer becomes an airport security office who’s questioning a Muslim traveler.

This experience: “explores contemporary Muslim identities in the U.S. through the lens of an airport interrogation… These interrogations become strikingly personal encounters that only end when the participant decides if the hologram should be let into the country or not—but there is a twist.”

Meanwhile, other experiences included Lambchild Superstar: Making Music in the Menagerie of the Holy Cow. This is the result of a collaboration between eminently creative alt-rock band OK Go and Within, the studio of VR artist Chris Milk.

In Lambchild Superstar, two players compose a song using cartoon animals. This is one such experience which will be available for the public to enjoy soon. Perhaps this is just as well as Adi Robertson for The Verge described it as:  “an intricate project that feels almost overwhelming in a festival setting, where you’ve got a few minutes to explore a complicated system.

At the immersive festival, visitors could do everything from swimming and finding peace with sharks in Into the Now to being horrified by kids at Camp Coyote in Campfire Creepers: Midnight March.

To find out more about each of the experiences, you can visit a dedicated webpage on the Tribeca Film Festival site. Although it’s too late to go to this year’s festival, keep an eye out for tickets for 2019 as there are sure to be more AR and VR experiences on display.

Source: The Verge

Tribeca Film Festival

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May 29, 2018 at 03:34PM
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3D Printing Method Creates Concrete Casting Molds to Help Restore New York City Building

3D Printing Method Creates Concrete Casting Molds to Help Restore New York City Building
By Hanna Watkin

Modern Ornamental

EDG NYC is an architecture firm that has developed a new method of digital sculpting, which they call “Modern Ornamental”, to restore a building in New York City. The process utilizes 3D printing to produce complex molds for casting concrete structures.

EDG is a New York-based architecture and engineering firm that has been using 3D printing to create intricate concrete casting models for over five years now. The result of their longwinded efforts is a process called Modern Ornamental, or as they describe it, “a new form of digital sculpture.”

This technique entails the use of widely available CAD software, such as 3DSMax and Rhino, and algorithmic modeling programs that develop renderings of large printable structures. However, rather than then creating solid 3D printed parts, which can oftentimes be expensive and take an extremely long time to print, the team instead creates a mold of the design. At first, they began prototyping complex molds for concrete using a MakerBot Replicator Z18.

When EDG heard about the impending demolition of a historic building in New York from the 1940’s, they realized that there was now a real-world use for their construction solution. And so, they began coming up with alternative ways to restore the 574 Fifth Avenue property.

The team explored a range of materials and mold thicknesses to come up with the perfect solution for restoration and maintenance of the building. They finally settled on what they believed to be the right balance of strength and efficiency, as well as material cost.

John Meyer, founder and managing partner of EDG, explained the inspiration behind the project.

“This project began with the simple goal of finding a way to salvage and restore many of the deteriorating architectural treasures in New York City, and around the world. The innate beauty and rich history of these gems were vanishing as the cost of their repair became progressively prohibitive,” he said.


Saving 574 Fifth Avenue with 3D Printed Concrete Molds

To create the concrete piece, the firm starts by 3D printing a form with a detailed pattern, along with stirrups that provide structural reinforcement. For the 574 Fifth Avenue restoration project, the 3D printing was done by VoxelJet using their industrial-grade VX1000 printer, which is designed specifically for the production medium-sized molds, cores and models.

Once printing is complete, the 3D printed plastic form is inlaid with a laser cut wire mesh. A bond breaker is also added before pouring the Sika concrete to ensure that it doesn’t stick to the mold. Finally, the firm implemented a plate connection system to ensure that attaching the cast to the facade was easy to do.

With the success of 574 Fifth Avenue, the firm now plans to continue refining and using this technique for more construction and restoration jobs.

“…we set about creating a cost effective method of reconstruction and repair. Having achieved that, we also quickly realized that the ease and accessibility of this method of construction held the potential for a truly seismic shift in the creation of building facades. Drawing inspiration from classic styles, we transformed those details into something modern and fresh,” Meyer explains.

The firm will now be working on two new projects utilizing the same method, but with a more “contemporary lens”. However, before they can begin on these projects, they hope to develop their own 3D printer to reduce lead times and outsourcing costs. So, for now, EDG is currently in the process of building a customized printer which will suit their preferred material of concrete and the large sizes needed for building facades.

Modern Ornamental

Source: Archpaper

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May 28, 2018 at 07:02PM
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Weekend Project: Take Flight With This 3D Printed V911 Micro Flying Wing

Weekend Project: Take Flight With This 3D Printed V911 Micro Flying Wing
By Tyler Koslow

How’s the local weather forecast looking this weekend? Why not 3D print your own micro flying wing to soar beyond the kites and frisbees at the park. Designed by Thingiverse user drcameron, this RC wing attachment will have you soaring through blue skies with style.

With projects like OpenRC taking the 3D printing community by storm, we’re seeing more and more examples of how this technology can be used to create and upgrade remote-controlled vehicles. And it’s no surprise why makers are fawning over these types of projects; they’re fun, functional and showcase the potential that even desktop 3D printing has for manufacturing useful things.

And so, for today’s Weekend Project, we’ll be taking a look at a 3D printed V911 Micro Flying Wing. Designed by Thingiverse user drcameron, his project was recently featured on the front page of the popular 3D model repository. Using a few various parts from an old RC plane, you can add these 3D printed wings and take flight. The ribbed wing design has already been tried and tested by the designer, and it proved to be a soaring success.

Let’s take a quick look at what you need to make your own high-flying RC plane.

3D Printed Micro Flying Wing: What You Need

The STL files for the wings are freely available on Thingiverse. You can download them here. Other than that, here are the components you need to put this project into the air.

V911 Receiver Brick 
V911 Motor

Packaging tape (to wrap wings)

Foam (for the winglets)

Of course, if you have some RC plane parts laying around the garage, you might be able to source these components for this project. Otherwise, you can either find the individual parts above or buy an old plane and obtain what you need from there.

3D Printed Micro Flying Wing: Putting it Together

The 3D printing process is quite easy, as the wings come in two separate parts and snap directly together. It might take some angling on your slicer in order to fit the model on your 3D printer’s bed, but the project creator was able to print it on a Monoprice Maker Select V2, which has a build volume of 200 x 200 x 180 mm. The teacher and maker also scaled down this model of a control horn by 75 percent, making it the perfect fit for the micro wings.

The wings were printed with two walls and zero top and bottom layers. Using Cura, drcameron used the grid pattern to create the lightweight inner structure. He also notes that both wings should be oriented the same way to ensure that the grid pattern is uniform across both prints.

After the printing process is complete, you should wrap the wings in packing tape and add foam to the tips of the winglets. He then attached the receiver brick and motor using hot glue. Although the maker doesn’t go into the electronics assembly in his Thingiverse post, he does share a link to this forum for those unfamiliar with this process.

All in all, this is a great project to show everyone just why 3D printing is so useful, and for parents looking to introduce a bit of maker ingenuity to their children. You can play around and customize this project to fit your style, and become the most popular person at the park once you start flying this RC plane around.

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May 27, 2018 at 04:55PM
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New Kickstarter Initiative Could Lead to More Successful 3D Printing Campaigns

New Kickstarter Initiative Could Lead to More Successful 3D Printing Campaigns
By Matthew Mensley

Popular crowdfunding platform Kickstarter has just introduced its Hardware Studio Connection program. Campaigns enrolled in the initiative receive expert support to deliver their hardware targets.

If you’ve ever taken a punt on a Kickstarter campaign, there’s always a twinge of anxiety that follows the initial rush of backing. Will the campaign deliver? Is the product half as good as it was chalked up to be in the campaign video? Will there even be a product landing on my doorstep 7 months from now?

Of course, expecting a solid return is the wrong way to look at Kickstarter campaigns (we cover this in detail in our post 8 Things to Watch for when Backing a 3D Printing Kickstarter). The risk of things going awry is high, and nowhere is this more evident than the sometimes catastrophic world of 3D printing Kickstarter campaigns.

We’ve seen the a laundry list of 3D printing Kickstarters hit turbulent times, with unforeseen production issues (or even outright fraud) pushing projects back and sometimes derailing them completely.

In an effort to remedy this, both for projects to succeed and for backers to invest with confidence, Kickstarter has rolled out Connection, a new element of the company’s Hardware Studio. Hardware Studio Connection hooks enrolled projects up with experienced product experts at Avnet and Dragon, in addition to the existing free online resources of Hardware Studio that any campaign to make use of.

With the aforementioned companies’ assistance, Kickstarter campaigns gain valuable knowledge, guidance and planning tools to help them achieve on their promises.

Another aspect of the Hardware Studio Connection is the awarding of badges, visibly placed on qualifying projects’ campaign pages; a signal to backers that there is confidence from on high that a campaign is capable of delivering.

All Badged Up

There are four types of badge that can appear on Hardware Studio Connection Kickstarter campaigns.

The first, Engaged, signifies that a campaign is accepted into Kickstarter’s Hardware Studio Connection program. While no immediate indication that something will come of it, at this stage you know that the project has undergone scrutiny, and the judgement thus far is that those involved are realistic and understand the challenges ahead.

Then comes the Ready 1, 2 and 3 badges. Stepping up from Engaged, these badges correspond to the assessment and verdict of the experts working with the project, with Ready 3 being the highest level at which the Hardware Studio Connection experts deem a campaign being at.

Recipients of the Ready 1 classification have — at least — a partially user tested functioning prototype, the ability to fulfill low volume production and the assertion that with a successfully funded campaign, the money is there to fund the requisite costs to reach full campaign fulfillment.

Ready 2 campaigns are at the point of being able to manufacture the product at expected volumes, with the plans to do so already set in place, in addition to being already several iterations into a product shaped by user feedback. The proceeds of a successful campaign here contribute to extra tooling and certifications.

And finally, a Ready 3 badged Kickstarter campaign is as near as the real deal pre-crowdfunding as you’ll find. There is a working, tested product ready for manufacturing and delivery — all that’s missing is the funds to feed the manufacturing machine. Basically, a low-risk campaign to back.

It’s an intriguing system, and something that we suspect has been a long time coming. After the initial excitement of crowdfunding gradually subsided to tales of backers’ woes, with the successes slipping quietly into the mainstream, it seems that a crowd’s backing isn’t enough — with a guiding hand of business rigueur a necessary step to improve the platform for all involved.

There are currently only four projects in the Hardware Studio Connection program — sadly none relating to 3D printing. Though here’s hoping we see some badges under the next 3D printing crowdfunding innovation sensation.

Source: SolidSmack

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May 26, 2018 at 07:19PM
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